Question: Describe subsistence farming and its types in detail.
Answer: The two main types of farming are: subsistence farming and commercial farming.
Subsistence farming is practiced solely to meet the needs of the farmer’s family. Therefore, the practices involved are usually old-fashioned. Use of modern technology is minimum and most work is done by household labour.
In intensive, subsistence agriculture, simple tools and huge labour are used by a farmer to cultivate a small plot of land. More than one crop is grown annually in favorable conditions. Rice is the major crop. This form of agriculture is seen in the thickly populated areas of the monsoon regions of south, south-east and east Asia. Shifting cultivation is a class of primitive subsistence agriculture. In this, a plot of land is cleared by felling the trees and burning them.
The ashes are then mixed with soil and crops are grown. After some time, the land is abandoned and the farmers move to a different place. This type of farming is common in the thickly forested areas of the Amazon basin, tropical Africa, parts of south-east Asia and north-east India. It is also called “slash and burn” agriculture.
Nomadic herding refers to the practice in which herdsmen move from place to place with their animals for fodder and water. Animals usually reared are the yak, sheep, camel and goats.
Question: Describe commercial farming and its types in detail.
Answer: Commercial farming is the practice in which crops are grown exclusively for commercial purpose, i.e. for sale in the market. A large area is cultivated and huge capital is involved unlike subsistence farming. Machines are used to a large extent.
Commercial grain farming is a class of commercial farming. Crops like wheat and maize are grown for commercial purpose. The temperate grasslands of North America, Europe and Asia are some common areas where it is seen.
Mixed farming is another type of commercial farming. The land is used for growing food and fodder crops and rearing livestock. Some areas where it is followed are Europe, eastern USA, Argentina, south-east Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Plantations are a type of commercial farming where only a single crop (like tea, coffee, sugarcane, cashew, rubber, banana or cotton) is grown. Large amount of labour and capital are required. The produce is processed in the farm itself or nearby factories.